Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This is the Treasury Building at Petra, Jordan. It's a HUGE structure carved into the side of a sandstone mountain. It's the scene for the Finding the Holy Grail portion of the third Indiana Jones movie. And it's where we were yesterday. Above is a small example of the caves, fancy building and carvings that are throughout Petra. It was WAY COOL. I'd write more, but the taxi is here...later

Monday, March 29, 2010

Greetings from Amman, Jordan

Today we went to Jaresh, Jordan where we saw these Roman ruins and many, many more. The "hit" of the day was that Anna was followed and confronted everywhere we went by these young Arabic girls. They were in awe of her hair, in awe of the fact that she was American, they would seek her out, ask to have their picture taken with her and asked her lots of questions. She got a brief taste of what it is like to be a movie star. HA HA. Pictures of our trip will be posted next week. Thanks to the people who "allowed" me to use these images from Google.

Tomorrow...Floating in the Dead Sea, Touring the Mosaics works of Madaba, and viewing Petra, made famous in Indiana Jones (with Sean Connery). Having fun...wish you were here!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Please pardon us as we take a break from blog writing for a week. We're headed to Jordan, land of sun, sand, flowers, generous, polite peoples, and interesting sites (Petra, Madaba, Dead Sea, Jeresh, Wadi Rum). At least that's what the guide books promise.

Back with photos and stories soon.

Happy Easter Week to all Christians.
Enjoy a big slice of Ham for me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yes Mrs Brown, you've got a lovely daughter

After posting the pensive, reflective Anna, I decided that a smiley Anna was needed. Many of you haven't seen her since she got the "metal" on her teeth.
Definately a work in progress.

Islamic Art 101

Okay you and I BOTH know that a Muslim did not paint this picture. But I appreciated the Muslim touches! Picture taken at the Open Market, Doha
Tell me what's different about each leg?(And I have no idea WHY it is this way...something to ponder)

In case you've ever wondered...

Pictures taken at the Islamic Museum, Doha, Qatar

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Final Comment about International Day

All of AIS was inspired by the 8 minute show our 2nd graders put on for us. The sites of these little 7 and 8 year olds dancing their hearts out and the sounds of the encouragement and cheering they received from their Middle School and High School schoolmates will be with me for a long time!'s over now.
Humdallah...thank God!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Isn't She Lovely?

Anna Leigh, looking somewhat pensive and reflective, on a recent day in Kuwait. (photo by a friend..."Borrowed" from Anna's facebook profile)

Women of the Festival

Beautiful Baby IGR, she's a keeper, eh?!
Two of our beautiful students proudly posed at the Kuwait booth.

This is one of my favorite shots of the festival...maybe of my whole time here. It tells so much...the piece of artwork featuring the eyes of a young muslim woman with our workers looking through the hallway at the action below (it looks like "bars" but it's just the way one of our outside walls looks). These workers are so often viewing the action from a distance.

The Day the Camel came to School: Scenes from our Recent International Festival

Anna having her arm "henna'd"...the art of placing ink on your skin in lovely designs. The two girls are from Bangledesh.

We have over 45 countries represented in our school ,although the majority of students are from Kuwait and Lebanon. On Thurday, we had over 1200 students in our auditorium, grades 1-12 for an hour and a half assembly. I was the MC and I'm happy to say that EVERYONE survived!

Yes folks, I wasn't kidding...there really was a camel on our tennis courts.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Breakfast with the Flamingos

Although I've had a "thing" for Pink Flamingos for a long time (even made it the theme for my son's graduation a couple years ago), I've never actually seen one other than on TV or in a snowdome. But, Friday morning I enjoyed a rare treat. I went with friends TK and C to a back water bay area where there were hundreds of flamingos. Who knew that Kuwait was the winter vacation spot for the beautiful pink birds? The picture would have been better if I had a telephoto, but it captures one of the images that will always be in my brain.

They are HUGE birds in real life. Much bigger than I imagined. And they walk just like a camel. Seriously. As they were travelling along the edge of the bay, looking for food, they looked like a caravan of camels walking. Yes, you could say that the heat has gone to my brain (it is really hot here now... in the 90s) but TK and C agreed with me.

Of course the day wouldn't have been complete without the breakfast at Starbucks AND the breakfast at the restaurant near by and the wonderful conversation with friends. C is from France (or, as she says "fraannhce") and she's lived in many countries. TK is from Colorado and truly one of the most gentle souls I've ever met.

Pink Birds and Latte..what a great way to start the weekend.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Artsy Fartsy

David posing with a fine piece of Islamic Art in the IM Pei Museum of Islamic Art in Doha.
IM Pei, the same architect who designed the additional pyramid to the Louvre, was lured out of retirement to design this building. It's quite amazing.
Which reminds me, the other day while having students work on an assignment about Vincent Van Gogh (I teach an Introduction to Fine Arts Course), I was having students look up where some famous paintings were hanging. One of the students said, "The Sunflowers is located in you that pyramid place in Paris". I gasped and said "You mean the Louvre?" "Oh yes Miss that one." I have a long way to go with these kids...

Notes from the Backstage

Scenes from the AIS production of "THREE MUSKETEERS". Anna is on the far right in both photos.

As I've been busier than a one armed paper hanger (I love that expression!) I've asked David to comment on our life here. He choose to write about his experience with building the set for the recent production of "THREE MUSKETEERS".

Written by Set Designer and Builder, David Brown
Another play has come and gone. It's amazing that something that took me two months to build can be torn down in one hour! One of the workers was amazed that it could all be torn down so quickly.
I decided to spread the wealth around and have another teacher direct the show (after 14 years of being the only director,it's nice to be able to share!). However, Her version of the show had 12 scene changes and as set designer and builder, I was NOT happy. So I found another version that only had 6 scene changes and she agreed with that.
Like in Pelican Rapids, I had to build alot of the basic set pieces and "flats". Also, I had to tear things apart before I could get them (I DO believe in recycling!) Another challenge is that I had to build the set in another space and then tear it down and move it to the Auditorium. A couple times I was told "it will never fit through the door" (like I don't measure...well, sometimes I don't!)
The Biggest Challenge was that the set called for lots of scenes which required painting beautiful scenery, which I don't do. Fortunately, Anna and her artistic friends came to the rescue and helped out. Except that when you work with volunteer student help, they don't always share the same sense of urgency and timing that I do, especially when they get grounded! But it all worked out even though it wasn't exactly pretty when I got done with it.
All in all, everything worked out. There was a good crowd, several "new" actors had a chance to be on stage (actually it was a BIG DEAL because we had so many Kuwaitis in the cast. Usually the North Americans "entertain" and the others watch). The show was well attended (for Kuwait) and everyone was pleased. Oh-and the set didn't fall down (not that that ever happens to me---but I know it did happen in Nadine's high school life)
Now I'm on to other grading the pile of papers that has stacked up while I was working on this project. And paying attention to my wife ---yes, I did add this last line-NWB ;-)!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Our lil medical adventure

Well David's cataract surgery came about quicker than we thought and now David no longer has his eye problem. The cataract was removed this morning in a quick surgery.

We began the adventure with a typical kuwait heart-stopping moment as the taxi driver was late. And then he didn't quite know where we were going. But finally between David's hand signals and my grunts, we made it, only a couple minutes late.

David was apprehensive about the surgery, I mean, any time someone says," I'll just slice into your eye and suck something out" , gotta feel nervous right? He said "I didn't expect it to be so much of an actual surgery including lying on a bed and being taken to the operating room, watching the lights pass before me as I was wheeled down to surgery". I think he was expecting to have the doctor say "remove your glasses, I'm going to cut now". It was a little more complicated than that with an anesthesialogist and surgeon and two nurses in the room. But he was a trouper.

I was brave..i went to Starbucks and had a lattee while I was waiting. Fortunately the surgery was only about 20 minutes long. (just enough time for a cup of coffee)
Medical facilities and operations are quite upscale and nice here in Kuwait. There's even an attendant who brings juice and a croissant after surgery.

The most exciting part of the day came when we were waiting for the taxi to pick up us. At least 15 cop cars went by on the main road in a space of 3 minutes and i was thinking, "holy cow this is the mother lode of all accidents". Then there was an empty space without traffic and i looked up to see four red vehicles surrounding a black limosine racing down the highway, followed by three big black vehicles with the windows open and gunmen poised ready to shoot (no joke!) then about 15 more police cars, two ambulances and then a large space before any other cars were on the road. My guess is that the Amir went out for coffee or something. It definately was someone important based on all the hub bub. Poor David couldn't see anything but I tried to describe the excitement.

Right now David sorta looks like a sadder version of Jack Sparrow with a big patch on his eye. (no dredlocks though) Tomorrow he gets the patch off and we "see what he can see".

Monday, March 8, 2010

World Famous Author

My daddy just wrote a cool is that?!
Author James Leck signs autographs for his many fans and supporters at AIS last Friday at the book party.

Okay, everyone run to their nearest book store (or and order the book "The Adventures of Jack Lime" by James Leck. We happen to work with Mr Leck and his family has become very special to us here in Kuwait. Jamie had the world premiere of his book last weekend at AIS. It was pretty cool.
It was hard for JL to have the premiere of his first published book so far from home, but the AIS "family" tried to help him along. It is great fun to have an author amongst us. Next year, the family will return to CA and JL will be a full time author (the publishers have already optioned him for a second book!)
Rock on Dude...may your crimes never stop!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

EYE see...much clearer now

It started when I kept losing my glasses and David suggested that I wear my glasses all the time. Then my daughter suggested that I wear my glasses when I do the dishes because I was not getting the dishes clean when I wash them (uh-HUM!...yes, I could have told her she could do the dishes herself)
And finally, I discovered that i once again put the wrong numbers on something when I wasn't wearing my glasses which could have resulted in a student getting disqualified from a tournament
(he was born in 1996 not 1993 but I placed the incorrect numbers on his application!)

Anyway, so I was convinced that it was time to head to the eye doctor. But first, we had to get David taken care of. He's developing a cataract in his left eye, his BAD eye. So we've been on a mission to get it taken care of. He's going to have surgery within the next ten days. The surgeon says it's a 15 minute operation...unbelievable!

So since it was an eye day, we went off to the place where I was recommended to see about my eyes. The eye person (I don't think he was an optomitrist (sp?) but he knew what he was doing. He convinced me that I didn't need new glasses, that I didn't need to have an upgrade, and he fully explained the whole rational for me, and fixed my current glasses, AND...didn't charge me a thing! He said "this is Kuwait, we don't charge like they do in the US". Unbelievable.

In general, medical things are easier, quicker and cheaper here than in the US. We usually make appointment about 2 hours in advance and never have to wait more than 15 minutes for an appointment. It's safe, clean, efficient and convenient. This past fall, I called for a doctor appointment for David and Anna...and they got one at 11 pm at night! (It was Ramadan and the offices were open from 3 pm to 12 am).

I'll keep you posted on David's surgery. But at least know that we feel safe and in good hands.